Is sat-radio a 'jukebox from outer space'?




The Oakland Press - On The Radio, December 3 2004


By: Art Vuolo

In the last couple of weeks, the radio trade publications have been loaded with news about satellite radio. Last month, I wrote about the oldies format in Radio & Records, the industry's leading trade publication, and mentioned sat-radio.

Afterward, one of my most memorable e-mails was from a local program director, whom I have great respect for and who also noted that I got in a good plug for "the jukebox from outer space ... and that ain't radio, baby."

Hmmm, the five-letter word in those stories that follows "satellite" is "radio." It ain't a refrigerator, baby.

Besides extensive stories on the sat-casters in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Las Vegas Review-Journal last Sunday, the current issue of Newsweek has a major story on the sat-casters with heavy emphasis on Sirius, one of the two available competing systems with differing technologies.

By the way, we've apparently learned nothing from Beta vs. VHS battle as very little in the electronics industry is standardized. It's one of the ways they try to get you to spend more money.

Heard mornings on hot talk WKRK-FM (97.1), Howard Stern is an edgy talk show host - not a "shock jock," as he plays no music.

He probably did more to increase awareness about satellite radio with his carefully timed announcement about moving there in 2006 than all of the advertising done by both Sirius and XM Satellite Radio over the past three years.

The buzz on this new medium is loud, and the stock prices for both companies have made them the talk of Wall Street.

The word "content" - the stuff you can listen to - is propelling thousands of people to actually pay for radio, and now with major personalities abandoning traditional radio for "the jukebox from outer space," many broadcasters are concerned.

This week in Los Angeles, XM rolled-out the new MyFi handheld radio, which is about the size of a cell phone. It represents a new technology from Troy-based Delphi Electronics, which makes it possible to take XM anywhere. After I get to play with one, I'll let you know if it's really worth the hefty $350 price.

Back on Earth, our local stations continue to do good things for the community that the big national guys simply cannot.

The jocks at hits WDRQ-FM (93.1) probably want to get back into those nice warm state-of-the-art studios in the Fisher Building after a week of being out on location for their creative "Stuff-A-Bus" promotion to help the less fortunate.

Last year, they collected nearly $1 million in toys. The bus is in the parking lot of Micro Center, across from the Oakland Mall in Madison Heights. Jay & Rachael and all of the 'DRQ jocks appreciate your support.

From 9-11 a.m. today, it's Judy Adams' 28th annual Jimi Hendrix birthday special on public radio WDET-FM (101.9). This birthday tribute to an American music legend will include rarely heard recordings and special giveaways.

Who says NPR affiliates are stuffy and out-of-touch?

Speaking of NPR affiliates, smart move on the part of WEMU-FM (89.1) to pick up Matt Watroba and his popular "Folks Like Us" show, which was dumped by 'DET two months ago. Watroba's first show on WEMU airs 2 p.m. Saturday.

I recently got a copy of "On the Radio" by Lee Alan, and could barely put the book down. It's loaded with vintage photos and hundreds of great stories about the early days of pop radio in Detroit. He really should be back on the air locally.

When personality WJR-AM (760) ran its special syndicated oldies show on Saturday night during the Woodward Dream Cruise, I thought how cool it would have been to have Alan host such a show on 'JR - complete with his famous Frank Sinatra sign-off.

His comeback on oldies/talk WPON-AM (1460) didn't work out when the station was sold recently.

Speaking of WPON, one of its popular programs was the morning insanity of Crazy Al and sidekick Larry Matthews.

Well, Crazy Al is still around on the Internet at www.industri, where his show is drawing nearly 1 million hits from people on their computers all over the world - a far greater audience now than when he was on the little 1,000-watt station in Walled Lake.

Check it out between 8-11 a.m. on the Web, and mark your calendars for Dec. 22, when your humble radio writer/wannabe DJ will be the guest jock doing a Christmas special.

Regarding Christmas music, standards CKWW-AM (580) is mixing holiday hits with its regular music until Dec. 15, when it presents its 12 days of Christmas music through the 26th. Seems a much better way to celebrate the season. Bravo to 580 Memories.

Art Vuolo has published the Radio Guide for more than 30 years and runs







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This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on December 3, 2004 8:00 AM.

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